Opeth/Paradise Lost/Tapping The Vein/Beyond The Embrace

1/18/03 The Paladium - Worcester, MA

live review

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We've waited for what seems like forever, but Opeth has returned to the states. Ok, maybe we're actually spoiled, it's not often that a band from Sweden plays Worcester 3 times in less than 2 years. Hell, Entombed hasn't come over since '98 (ahem).
First up this evening are local boys Beyond The Embrace, I know they are local because they sound like the child of Iron Maiden and Sweden's current metal scene. Come on guys, Shadows Fall, All That Remains, (and later) Killswitch Engage have already cornered it, the Western MA sound, one born of the boredom and hard drugs of Springfield/Holyoke, MA. It's been done, let's get a new sound from MA.
Next came Tapping The Vein who received the usual reaction of "who the hell put these guys on the bill?". Not that they'd fit perfectly on any bill, they are actually original. Imagine if you will, heavy drums mixed with samples, simple but hypnotic bass lines, guitar that goes from riffage to just plain strange noises and strong female vocals. Sort of a heavy Portishead on crack. I liked it, the crowd looked like they'd been stunned with a cattle prod, Ah, good stuff.
I've been waiting years for the next band, Paradise Lost haven't toured here since 1993!!! Unfortunately you could tell because I spotted about 7 other people besides myself who seemed to know who the hell they were. The band finally delivered their own brand of goth-infused hard rock to the Worcester masses. The crowd didn't quite know what to make of them even though they put on a great set, covering a wide range of material from past to present. The crowd got restless during the last song and a few intellectually challenged individuals decided to sling beer cups at the band who reacted with a good humored lyrical improvisation. The show was not exactly the reaction I was hoping for, hopefully the U.S. will eventually catch on.
And finally there was Opeth. This is a band that pretty much just stands onstage, they move a bit, but there's no insane headbanging, no hopping around, leaping into the crowd, no hanging from the rafters etc. Their music is so beautifully intricate and sickly twisted that all they have to do is stand there to have the crowd in awe. Their soft spoken vocalist doesn't talk much, just announces a few songs, yet they can whip up a pit effortlessly. The set seemed short, but that's probably due to the average Opeth song clocking in at over 10 minutes. I think every album was covered in the set, but there were no sneak peaks of "Damnation" (sorry kids, you'll have to wait until the next leg of the tour). The show was amazing as it has been everytime they've come to town, the guitar work, crazy time changes, and overall dumbfounding arrangements flowed seamlessly into one another. Truly a fucking amazing band.

Reviewed by: Wolfie